The statistics show that study visas for Indian, Nigerian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals, are now all more than three times higher than they were in 2019, seen as a major factor behind the UK’s immigration figures hitting record levels over the past year.
The overall ONS data shows that net migration to the U.K. rose from 173,000 in the year to June 2021, to 504,000 in the year to June 2022 – an increase of 331,000 post-Brexit.
The end of lockdown restrictions, the first full period of statistics following the transition since Brexit, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the resettlement of Afghans, and a new visa route for Hong Kong British Nationals (Overseas) are all said to have contributed to the “record levels of long-term immigration”.
“A series of world events have impacted international migration patterns in the 12 months to June 2022. Taken together these were unprecedented,” said Jay Lindop, director of the Centre for International Migration at the ONS.
“Migration from non-EU countries, specifically students, is driving this rise. With the lifting of travel restrictions in 2021, more students arrived in the UK after studying remotely during the coronavirus pandemic,” she said.
“However, there has also been a large increase in the number of people migrating for a range of other reasons. This includes people arriving for humanitarian protections, such as those coming from Ukraine, as well as for family reasons,” she said.
“These many factors independent of each other contributing to migration at this time mean it is too early to say whether this picture will be sustained,” added Lindop.
The data will be of concern to the Conservative Party-led government, which has a manifesto commitment to reduce migration “overall”, something reiterated in recent weeks and months by U.K. Home Secretary Suella Braverman.